In exhibitions entitled Capita Selecta, the Groninger Museum displays a wide selection of work from the Museum Collection’s modern and contemporary art, fashion and design. Currently, this entails work by Viktor & Rolf, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Andy Warhol, Bernhard Willhelm & Jutta Kraus, and Ai Weiwei.
Capita Selecta shows work found where visual arts, fashion, design and photography meet. The Groninger Museum tends to collect haute couture pieces and unique design objects, presenting these in a manner resembling free-standing sculptures. Fashion and design receive the same treatment as autonomous art. Each room has its own intriguing combination of works that bring out the best in each other and invite viewers to discover similarities and differences between them.
Viktor & Rolf’s pivotal years
Before Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren established a fashion house, they mainly made their mark with their work in the world of art. This was remarkable in and of itself – during the mid-1990s – since at the time fashion and contemporary art were two separate domains with a wide gulf between them. In 1998 Viktor & Rolf were given access to the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne calendar and their breakthrough soon followed. The Groninger Museum collected their work during these pivotal years and is now displaying a choice selection.
Andy Warhol screen prints
In his screen-print series Ladies and Gentlemen, Andy Warhol portrays drag queens: men dressed as women. In the puritan United States, at the time drag queens were taboo, as was homosexuality. Warhol had collected a cult circle of artists, groupies and celebrities of varying stature. They would gather in his studio known as The Factory, where these portraits were made. Warhol coloured in the photographs, so that they resemble collages.
Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
Inez van Lamsweerde was interested in both fashion and the visual arts from an early age. In the early 1990s she was one of the first artists to use a computer to alter photographs. She achieved fame with the resulting ‘manipulated’ photos, depicting the human body displayed in disorienting, bizarre fashion, thanks to small alterations. Although this brought her international success, she decided to concentrate on fashion photography, together with her partner, stylist Vinoodh Matadin. Thanks to their unique trademark style, they managed to scale the top of the international fashion world within a few years. The photographs on display were made in 1998 for the Japanese fashion house Yamamoto and are surrealist in nature.
Bernhard Willhelm & Jutta Kraus
Willhelm & Kraus’ unconventional fashion is easily recognisable by its strong imagery, conveying a grotesque, childlike and fantastic nature. They transform this in inimitable fashion, combining it with elements from pop culture and haute couture.
Today, Ai Weiwei is counted among the leading artists of the world. Alongside his interest in Chinese antiques, in his work he also adapts furniture which has been used by the lower classes for centuries, such as the stools in his sculpture Grapes. Without a single nail, these have been connected together applying the same traditional techniques as were used in initially assembling the stools. The work symbolises the dynamic nature of modern China, where individuals attempt to wrest free from the order imposed from above, although their room for manoeuvre remains limited.
Capita Selecta will also have works on display by such artists as Nacho Carbonell, Jan Schoonhoven, René Daniëls, Martin Disler, Cyprien Tokoudagba, Maartje Korstanje and Chi Peng. The exhibition will run until 11 September 2016 in the Groninger Museum.
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